City of London starts to reopen as Government eases lockdown restrictions

The City of London Corporation has today (12 April) announced a string of events across the Square Mile, which will mark the reopening of some of its most iconic institutions and businesses, including non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and leisure.

As the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England reaches its second step, Lord Mayor of London William Russell and Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation Catherine McGuinness will be showing their support for local businesses. This will include visits to the Royal Exchange, One New Change, Bloomberg Arcade, Bow Lane, Middlesex Street and Petticoat Lane, which are set to reopen this week.

The Square Mile’s vibrant economy, like the rest of the UK, has suffered during the last year due to work from home restrictions significantly reducing footfall.

The City of London Corporation is playing its part to support firms by various means, including a new Covid Business Recovery Fund of up to £50 million aimed at SMEs that is launching today. It is also supporting businesses by allowing them to make use of open areas by continuing its revised Al Fresco Eating and Drinking Policy, issuing pavement licenses free of charge for suitable premises - which has been very popular with Square Mile establishments.

Lord Mayor of London, William Russell said:

“This is a move in the right direction towards returning the Square Mile to the vibrant and thriving ecosystem that it always has been.

“Businesses have been working extremely hard to ensure that they are able to welcome back visitors and workers in the safest way possible, whilst still maintaining the buzz and vibrancy we have all missed so much. More workers, visitors and residents will be supporting these local City businesses and institutions as they emerge from lockdown.”

Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness said:

“Today we’ve agreed plans to mark the reopening of the City for workers, visitors and residents. We will all once again be able to enjoy some of the Square Mile’s most well-known and loved shops, bars, pubs and restaurants, and we will be celebrating that. Personally, I’m so looking forward to getting back out and meeting people again.

“We now need more information from the Government on its plans to facilitate a safe return to offices in the very near future. Employers and many staff that we speak to are very keen to return to the workplace to see colleagues and clients, as well as to boost collaboration and innovation.”

Ruth Duston, OBE, OC, managing director of Primera Corporation which oversees a number of Business Improvement Districts and business Partnerships in the Square Mile, said:

“After months of lockdown, businesses are ready and eager to welcome people back to the City. We look forward to seeing workers and visitors returning and life being injected back into the capital. 

“We know that the way we work is going to look different and that the recovery will be gradual, but we now have the opportunity to do things better, to innovate and embrace changes rather than fear them.

“BIDs and Partnerships are supporting businesses across the Square Mile: by working together, we can ensure that we make a success of this all-important recovery for London.”